Time is running out for Britain's last diesel electric paddle vessel - the HIGHER FERRY at Dartmouth in Devon. The 1960 Philip & Son vessel is reaching the end of her life and the intention has been announced to replace her in mid 2009.
The £4m new vessel will have a car deck capacity of 36 twice that of the present vessel and offer a faster crossing. Unfortunately it will not be paddle propelled but be propelled by a pair of hydraulically-operated bull wheels which will pull the ferry along two steel hawsers anchored on each side of the river.
The new vessel will be constructed as a joint venture between the Dutch and Cornish ship yards of Ravestein and Pendennis and is based on the KING HARRY VII. Whilst WAVERLEY and KINGSWEAR CASTLE are well known around the UK those who have not yet sampled the last diesel paddler in these islands only have until mid 2009 to do so!